About death and grace
Pastor Jacob Epping (Jacob Epping gave 63 years of life Church service)I'm dying. Die from cancer. Last Christmas was my last. Spring has always been my favorite time of year. Now, as I write these lines, I really hope to see the spring of 2008.I have always loved basketball. Today the doctor said that probably I will be able to watch on TV the opening of the season with my favorite team the Detroit Tigers. But before the championship main basketball League World Series in October, I don't live…To paraphrase a famous English observer of human nature Samuel Johnson, we can say that the prospect of imminent death focuses the thoughts of the dying. Below are my thoughts about death.The first of them is this: I don't want to die. Despite the fact that I lived to be 90 years - 20 years above biblical ceiling" - I still want to live. There is a lot I want to do. I want to see friends. To prepare new sermons.Besides, I'm afraid. You must wonder what the pastor of the Christian Church is afraid to die? Frankly, as a Christian, I do not fear death as such, but I am afraid of the process itself. How can it hurt to die? I'm afraid of physical pain.I'm also afraid that before I die, run out of funds needed to cover medical expenses.But most of all I fear for his beloved wife Anna. With age she doesn't hear, doesn't remember and can't walk. For years I prayed to God that He allowed me to experience it. Then I could take care of her the rest of her earthly life. "And then I peace in the soul will lie in the grave," I promised the Lord.But the Lord God had not answered my prayer the way I wanted. My son argues that the answer actually was, because a lot of things from Anna already taken, except the last sparks of life. This logic does not convince me, and the words of the son only partly comforting.The issues that concern me most. But there are also less significant things.For example, these days I was tormented frustration and embarrassment. The fact that I always cared about his family and about himself. Now others care about me. My body is weakening. And my mind is not the same as before - especially painkillers. (But even here I must confess that I have reason for gratitude. Our attentive children love their parents. My daughter Suzanne, after retirement, he devoted himself to the care of us, their aged parents. For me also care by professional nurse Mary Ellen.)I served as a pastor and preacher of 63 years. From the pulpit and in private conversations with parishioners I tried to comfort many. I have conducted hundreds of funerals. (I know, I always welcomed a funeral service, because at the funeral unlike weddings people really listen to the pastoral word, for a short time they remember about the inevitability of his own death). Now another pastor comforts me. We discussed with him the details of my impending funeral.Worries me a question: why the sorrows and hardships borne by a respectable person? Why is all this happening to me? Why now? Because I had so much still to do on earth.At the beginning of his pastoral Ministry in the Church I have tried to answer this question. With it I was approached by a dying mother, her grieving family and living in the shock of a Church. But I soon realized that my answers were inconclusive and perhaps even leading in the wrong direction.Now I became much older and - I want to believe - at least a little wiser. And now, looking into the face of my own death, I'm trying to answer the question: why the ordeal overtake the good, respectable people? I think it will not surprise you that my answer three main points - as it was customary in the old reformed sermons.First, I have to admit that a comprehensive response is unknown to me. As they say, simply and clearly.Secondly, I am reminded of a story that in some way helps me personally in search of an answer. I hope you would too help. Here it is:When I was a kid, I was terrified of the dentist. But my dad still took me to the dentist. Remember, while we were waiting for their turn, I tearfully begged her father to deliver me from what was supposed to happen. At that moment, the father left me. He just said that he loves me and that all will be well. After that, I had no choice but to trust the father. He knew that at the time did not fit into my child's head - I had to go to the dentist.Suffering and death is also beyond my limited understanding. I pray to God that He delivered me from them. But for some reason God is not answering my prayers the way I would like it to be.Yes, it's beyond my understanding, but not understanding God. I know He loves me. All that remains for me is to trust Him, my only hope in life and death.
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